Mentality made a number of recommendations towards the end of the survey, which they think would improve the services available to Imperial students.
One of their biggest recommendations was that College should put “students’ mental wellbeing as a strategic priority over the next five years,” by committing to more training for student volunteers and staff alike.
They suggested the College reviews training already in place for personal tutors, Hall Wardens and Hall Seniors, especially when it comes to understanding anonymity and confidentiality.
They also recommended that students in welfare related volunteer roles within Imperial College Union receive mental health first aid training, meaning if students approach them they can offer a lot more support.
Mentality specifically recommended that the college invest in a partnership with Student Minds, a student mental health charity.
Other universities such as UCL and King’s College London have already got involved with the scheme, and trained students to run peer support groups that other students can take part in to talk about their experiences, and share strategies to help them towards recovery.
The survey found that although the Counselling Service waiting times have improved, extra provisions should be put in place during times when more students are experiencing mental stresses, such as during exam times.
They also recommended that “out of hours” support should be considered, alongside the introduction of a self-assessment form that students could fill in ahead of time to ensure students are prioritised according to their immediate need.
Some of the remaining recommendations are focused around ease of access to services. The survey results showed that there is a high level of awareness of services available for students already, which is promising. However, when asked, students weren’t engaging with such services when they were in need.
69% of students did not access ant of the support services at Imperial, although
Beth explained that although people have an idea of who can help when it comes to welfare concerns, when the time comes to actually reach out and find support, finding specific information could prove too difficult. “Some people may find it hard to actually dig out information, and when someone is suffering, that can be difficult to do when the time comes.”
Another recommendation therefore is to produce a clear document aimed at signposting students to relevant services, alongside clearer information on the college website and a targeted section within welcome packs for first year students.
Said Beth: “We heard from some students that were unhappy with the lack of support available on other campuses, but later found out that there are provisions at other locations, its just that students don’t know about them.
“Making it clearer where students can go to when they need help would be beneficial.”